Between the anniversary of the U.S. Embassy opening in Jerusalem, Nakba Day, which Palestinians observe as the tragedy of Israel’s founding and the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, the U.S. has issued a warning for Americans in Israel to be vigilant and on the lookout for terrorism during this volatile week.
Israel is already on high alert against attacks and many army reserves have been called up until after the Eurovision on Sunday.
“Security incidents can occur well beyond Gaza and its periphery and at any time, as demonstrated by the May 3-5 rocket attacks in southern Israel, including Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Be’er Sheva, and the March 14 and March 25 rocket attacks in Central Israel,” the U.S. State Department said in a warning. “As security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.”
Thousands of police, medics and stewards have been deployed to help facilitate Eurovision in Tel Aviv where some 300,000 tourists are expected to visit the city this week. And let me add as a resident of Tel Aviv I feel 100% safe! Much safer than I feel when I travel to the U.S. or Europe.
Meanwhile, following last week’s battle with Gaza militants who launched 700 rockets at Israel killing four people, many sides – from terror groups to Israeli intelligence and international politicians – are warning that all-out war was still possible. Though Hamas and Islamic Jihad have little to gain other than to use Israel’s response as propaganda against the Jewish state.
Inside Gaza there is growing resistance to Hamas’ rule. Protests against the regime have increased and Hamas has stifled the free speech with violence and murder. And reporters who report this news have been target with jail and beatings—once reason you don’t hear so much about it.
“The risk of war remains imminent and today we have perhaps the last chance to consolidate the agreements that have been reached,” United Nations Envoy Nickolay Mladenov said. “The next escalation is going to be probably the last one” before the sides descend into a full-fledged war, he said.
In fact, Avigdor Lieberman, whom Bibi needs to form his new government has made conquering Gaza a pre-condition. The Times of Israel reports that one of his demands is that Israel defeats “Hamas in Gaza rather than seeking arrangements with it.”
As part of the ceasefire deal brokered last week, Qatar’s Mohammed al-Emadi arrived in Gaza with $30 million and was to distribute $100 checks to each family. Qatar has financed over hundreds of millions of dollar’s worth of projects and relief operations in the Gaza Strip since 2012. The gulf state has also previously paid Hamas government salaries but stopped that after Israel protested that they were funding the militant group. Now the money now goes to humanitarian causes instead.